When Mitch Bain came up with an innovative solution to help prevent distracted driving, he had no idea that just a few months later his wife and three of his children would be in a collision caused by a distracted driver. Fortunately, all four of his family members involved walked away with only minor injuries, but the incident further fueled Mitch’s desire to see his product come to life. Now, CELLslip is a reality, with tens of thousands of products already having been sold across the US.
Here, Mitch describes the background of CELLslip to OMS.net and explains how he feels his product will help to eliminate distracted driving.
Mitch, can you give us some background about yourself?
I’m Director of Strategic Partnerships for Tarmac.io, I am the proud father of four beautiful children and husband to a very supportive wife Savanna.
What led to you inventing CELLslip?
Two years ago, I came up with a product called OSOMbox which was designed to decrease cell phone addiction in the home. I noticed that cell phone addiction was affecting my family and I wanted to create an easy solution. The box was more of a visual reminder to put your phone down and focus on the family. I am passionate about my family and thought if it can help my family maybe other families would use it. Needless to say, it was less than successful!
I realized that a lot of people recognize cell phone addiction is a problem in the home, but are reluctant to change their habits. My wife mentioned to me that if the product saved a life people would listen. That’s when I started researching distracted driving statistics.
We have an epidemic that most of America is participating in and there really wasn’t a solution outside of 50 mobile apps. The problem with such apps is they are usually only for one operating system and it is very easy to get distracted turning them on, but those distractions don’t stop the person from putting their car in drive.
I found a manufacturer that had access to the conductive fabric and started to make my prototypes. When I was about six months into creating CELLslip my wife and three youngest kids were hit by a distracted driver doing 40mph at a red light. That moment brought an emotion and passion to the project I hadn’t had before and I knew I had to get the product live.
What changed for you following this incident?
It made me realize that there needs to be a simple solution to this problem. I created CELLslip in hopes that organizations could use it as a tool to enhance their distracted driving education. I believe that if people are given a CELLslip after receiving education they will be more likely to use it. The statistics are staggering. Studies are showing that distracted driving is more dangerous than drinking and driving. Can you imagine the outrage people would have against alcohol if people witnessed other people drinking in their cars as much as they witness people using their cell phones?
How long did it take to bring CELLslip to market?
From starting work on the project to getting it to market took about a year.
How does CELLslip work?
The inside fabric of the CELLslip is made of RFID blocking material which blocks incoming and outgoing cell signal when the phone is inside, allowing the driver to focus on the road.
Is CELLslip any different to turning off your phone or putting it in the glovebox?
If you turn your phone off it takes a long time to restart. If there is an emergency that time could be the matter between life and death. When you pull your phone out of CELLslip you have service within seconds.
If you leave your phone turned on but put it in the glove box or back seat you still receive notifications. When you hear the ring or beep dopamine is released in your brain and more people than not will try and reach and check their phones.
People are so used to having their phone on them at all times they get anxiety if they don’t know where it is. Having your phone in CELLslip eases that anxiety, allowing your phone to be next to you while not being distracted by it.
Tell us about the launch of the product
We launched at the Towards Zero Death conference in partnership with AAA. We printed AAA’s logo onto the CELLslips and handed them out as promotional gifts. Savanna and I were on hand to answer questions. In just a month we sold over 10,000 CELLslips and now have businesses across the US wanting to partner.
We have signed a deal with the third largest promotional supply company in the US to handle promotional sales which will help me to increase delivery time, quality control and allows me to offer more colors and focus on what I’m passionate about, safety advocacy. 2017 is looking very positive towards our mission to decrease distracted driving.
Have you noticed that CELLslip appeals more to a particular age group?
Currently, most our sales are to businesses who are customizing them with their logos so they can use them not only as a safety product but also a promotional product. They are seeing value in putting their name on a product that is solving a problem that is affecting all communities.
However, distracted driving is an epidemic shared by all age groups. I see as many 60-year-olds on their phones while driving as I do teenagers. It would be a great purchase for all ages and could even be bought as a gift for a teen driver who is taking drivers education.
To read more about CELLslip or to purchase, visit www.CELLslip.com.